a small mound of dried chickpeas


Chickpeas are used in snacks, salads and dals. They are the basic ingredient in besan, a gluten-free flour used extensively in Indian cuisine. Some of our favourite recipes in this book feature chickpeas, or besan.

two red and two green whole chillies


Chillies are synonymous with Indian food. You don’t necessarily have to overdo it – and have your eyes streaming and be drenched in perspiration – but, without some chilli, dishes seem incomplete.

a mound of cinnamon sticks


The flavour of cinnamon is quite delicate and aromatic. It is a fundamental ingredient to most north Indian dishes.

a small mound of cloves


Cloves have a sweetly pungent, astringent and strongly aromatic. They are used in sweet and savoury dishes.

a bunch of coriander

coriander leaves

Coriander is probably the world’s oldest and most commonly used herb. It is green, leafy and strong-smelling with a fresh, citrus taste that makes it an invaluable garnish and flavour enhancer.

a small mound of coriander seeds

coriander seeds

The coriander seed has a warm and subtle flavour with a slight citrus hint. It has an aromatic scent that is soothingly warm, nutty, slightly fruity, and complex.

a heap of cumin seeds

cumin seeds

Cumin seeds, used either whole, or roasted and ground, add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking.

a sprig of curry leaves

curry leaves

Curry leaves are the shiny, dark green, aromatic leaves of a tree from the citrus fruit family that release a deliciously nutty aroma when fried in hot oil.

a small pile of dried red chillies

dried chillies

Dried chillies are pungent, hot, spicy, intense and sometimes smokey. They give heat, colour and vibrant flavour to a dish. They tend to be hotter than fresh chillies.

a mound of amchur powder

dried mango powder

Dried mango powder, or amchur, is a spice made by grinding dried mangoes. It is a beige powder with a honey-like fragrance and a sour fruity flavour. It is used to add a fruit flavour without adding moisture or as a souring agent.

a small mound of fennel seeds

fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are highly aromatic, are pale greenish in colour and have a faintly sweet and refreshing flavour.

a bowl of chopped fenugreek leaves, with a fresh bunch in background

fenugreek leaves

Fenugreek leaves, both fresh and dried, are used in Indian cookery for the strong aroma that is typical and evocative of this cuisine.